ATTU By Maurice Reeves

                                                           ATTU ....

                 Thanks! To MAURICE REEVES, The Following Excerpts
                 Are From His Articles Published In The 13TH Engineer
                 And 7TH ID. Association Newsletters.

                    Once the battle of Midway had been decided in June 1942 Japanese plans turned
                     to Alaska. The Japanese needing a base in the Aleutians for a possible invasion of
                     the U.S., occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska during that month. In May 1943,
                     the Allies plan was to recover Attu, the furthest island in the Aleutian chain,
                     isolating the Japanese troops on Kiska, the next American target.

                     There was little that seemed to go as planned for the Attu campaign. The landing
                     of the assault troops came off days late because of bad weather and high seas.
                     The troops were ill - equipped to do the job. The winter clothing/gear was not
                     adequate for the cold wet Aleutians.

                     The following report concerning the task of the Engineers is by
                     CLARENCE ZARN Platoon Leader B Company 13th Engineer
                     Battalion. ZARN later was Company Commander of C
                     Company during the Leyte and Okinawa campaigns. BASIL
                     AHERN, Platoon Sgt. also contributed some informtion.

                     We landed in the first wave with the Northern Landing Force on Red Beach,
                     North Arm of Holz Bay to clear any mines, if found and facilitate a supply road
                     as the troops moved inland. Our landing initially was undetected. The beach was
                     secured and supplies and equipment were unloaded by the navy. Two major
                     obstacles developed, one was the Aleutian tundra, which was a problem for all
                     units as the campaign developed. The other problem called for an immediate
                     answer. There was a high bluff rising 150 feet above the landing beach some
                     300-400 yards from the shoreline. The bluff dropped downward vertically about
                     10 feet and then sloped toward the shoreline on an angle of one vertical to one
                     and a half horizontal. The Engineers mission: Get the Infantry, weapons,
                     ammunition and supplies to the top of that bluff and be prepared to assist the
                     medics in returning casualties to the beach area and then on to the Navy hospital

                     The Engineers first cut a makeshift stairway along the face of the bluff, with
                     everything going up or down that stairway trail. This lasted one day. The platoon
                     fostered a plan to get their mission underway with the help of the navy. Someone
                     remembered seeing a large coil of 7/8' cable aboard one of the ships. This was
                     secured from the navy together with a large diameter sheave (like a pulley). The
                     intent was to construct a "deadman" on top of the bluff. The Engineers scouted
                     the beach for flotsam and by a miracle (we believe) a tree trunk about 15 feet
                     long and 2 feet in diameter at the small end was found. Some say it was the only
                     tree on Attu! The plan was to bury the "deadman" (tree trunk) about eight feet
                     deep, fasten the large sheave above ground to the tree trunk, then thread the
                     1,000 foot cable thru the sheave on the bluff surface so that the cable was divided
                     equally and extended down the bluff to a improvised "elevator".

                     To put the "elevator" into service a bulldozer was fastened to one end of the
                     cable and an improvised sled to be loaded with ammunition, artillery weapons,
                     food, etc. was attached to the other end of the cable. As the dozer moved
                     shoreward away from the bluff, the sled was pulled to the top. These supplies
                     and weapons would then be unloaded and moved forward to the troops by hand
                     carry or weasel units pulling sled pallets. By alternate action the sleds were pulled
                     up and down the slope , bringing casualties on the way down. The simple idea
                     expedited the action on Attu and bought time until a road could be constructed up
                     the side of the bluff.

                     It was not until May 27, 1943 that the Hourglass units appeared to have control
                     of the island. But the Japanese Commander Col. Yamasaki was not through. Two
                     days later the ennemy, in a desperate, final charge launched a full scaled attack
                     towards Clevesy Pass in an attempt to drive to Massacre Valley. It would have no
                     chance for success except for an order received by B Co. 32nd Infantry Regt.
                     ordering them to report to the regimental kitchen. No one knows how this order
                     came to be sent to B Company nor is there any record.

                     They were finally STOPPED at ENGINEER HILL as MAJOR GEORGE
                     COOKSON EX. OFFICER 13TH ENGINEER BN. Took Comand of an
                     assortment of Medics, Artillery Men and Engineers. (With LT. ROBERT
                     McARTHUR'S A Company 13TH ENGINEERS Who had prepared an
                     emergency plan for his Company.) As the ennemy advanced the troops fell back
                     slowly taking advantage of the high ground. This defensive action gradually
                     forced the attackers back toward Clevesy Pass where they were mopped up. By
                     May 30 organized resistance had collapsed. The men of the 13TH ENGINEERs
                     are PROUD of their accomplishments in WWI,WWII, KOREA and PANAMA.
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